She was photographed by Warhol, and Dal wanted to paint her; the first movies she made were Death in Venice and Cabaret. So why did she walk away?

Most parties, says Marisa Berenson,” tend to live in my past. Which is fine .” She smiles, well aware of the fascination.” But I tend to live in the present and in the future .” A 2001 profile of the simulation/ performer in the New York Times described her as a” Zelig of the zeitgeist … popping up in the best place at the right time “. And there is certainly something supernatural about her life and the people who have overtook through it. As a child( she is now 72) she was taught to dance by Gene Kelly. Greta Garbo came to her mothers’ parties; Salvador Dali- a friend of her grandmother, the designer Elsa Schiaparelli- wanted to paint her. The legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland pushed her to become a model- Yves Saint Laurent would describe her as” the face of the 70 s”- and she was photographed by monsters such as David Bailey, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Andy Warhol photographed her wedding.

She discovered musing in India alongside George Harrison and Ringo Starr, was at Bianca Jagger’s Studio 54 birthday party– the fabled night of the white horse- and attended Truman Capote’s famed Black and White ball. Although she continues to work in film, she hasn’t made a huge number of movies- but “the worlds biggest”, early in her vocation, were Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice, Bob Fosse’s Cabaret and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.

Berenson lives in a villa down an unprepossessing road on the outskirts of Marrakech. Even this lieu seems suitably mystical-” my paradise”, she says- an oasis of bright colours and patterns, and lush greenery amid the clean. We were participating in her terrace, overlooking the garden and pond. Tiny chicks scoot in and out. Berenson, beautiful and glamorous, is wearing a long, patterned kaftan, her slight but athletic frame untroubled by the weight of her heavy jade earrings and coinciding entangled vine of pendants. Her sunglasses stays on throughout- I never once envision her eyes.

Berenson with Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli at the Paris premiere of Cabaret in 1972. Photograph: Bertrand Laforet/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A housekeeper makes dark-green juice realized with vegetables from her organic garden-variety. She is thinking, she says, of writing a lifestyle book, fitted with healthy recipes, and interiors and gardening admonition. There is something both timeless and exceedingly current about Berenson. She was well ahead of the “wellness” tendency, and stands at something like high priestess level now- she doesn’t snack sugar or gluten, she does yoga, pilates and meditation- and has taken to Instagram.

Berenson is one of a generation of supremely cultured, well-connected Euro-aristocrats( she speaks five expressions ), birth to socialite Gogo Schiaparelli, daughter of Elsa, and Robert Berenson, a director of Aristotle Onassis’s shipping company who became a US diplomat. As small children she wanted to be in the movies, her bedroom plastered with pictures of Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich.

She grew up moving around Europe, then was sent to boarding school in Berkshire, where she concluded she was ” hopeless” at acting.” They had play-acts they put one over and we were obliged to get up on stage and do things. And I recollect extending off the stage crying, because I was so terrified. So you can imagine I never thought it would ever happen .”

‘ I make Stanley liked the notion that I became very melancholic’ … Berenson in Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Photograph: Warner Bros/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock Photograph: Warner Bros/ Kobal/ REX/ Shutterstock

When she was 16, her parent took her to a ball in New York where Vreeland spotted her and decided she must start modelling. Vreeland, she remembers,” said,’ We have to photograph Marisa .’ That was it. That’s how it started .” Berenson had already been turned down by one example agent, the influential Eileen Ford, but with Vreeland’s backing, she became one of the most sought-after faces of the 60 s and 70 s. Elsa Schiaparelli wasn’t too delighted.” I conclude she was afraid for me ,” says Berenson.” I was so young, and living in New York alone .” Likewise, she lends with a smile,” I was a little bit outrageous more. I did the first nude in Vogue, and things like that, and she was horrified .”

In her spare time she was hanging out at defendants with masters and boulder superstars, and in relationships with performers and rich heirs. She recollects doing a shoot for Vogue in Iran.” In those periods, everything was accessible .” She makes it voiced so glamorous and bohemian. Was she a wild hippy?” Not at all ,” she says with a laugh.” I was a combination of very well-brought-up, and an old-fashioned nostalgic way of looking at life .” She was on, she says, a” spiritual search “. Being into health and reflection probably saved her.” Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t survive. I went through that whole interval on orange juice and musing .” Medications, she says, were” frightening to me. I couldn’t imagine losing it like that. And then sexually I was kind of romantic, so I never did the whole crazy thing that road .”

It was on a Vogue shoot in India when she was about 18, in the late 60 s, that she learned about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, the birthplace of transcendental meditation. Two of the Beatles were there when she arrived.” And one of the Beach Boys ,” she points out.” So I culminated up staying there for a while, going through the initiation, becoming a vegetarian. The epoches went by and we would just meditate, sleeping in little huts .” Did she expend much era with George and Ringo?” When we’d finish the working day, George would say,’ Come into my chamber’ and we’d sit on the floor, and listen to them playing guitar .” At the time, she says, it didn’t feel like a big deal.” We are still on the same quest- there was a lot of peace and enjoy in those daylights that we were all looking forward to .”

Marisa Berenson with Andy Warhol in 1975. Photograph: Ron Galella/ Getty Images

Back in New York, Berenson took acting class in the evenings.” And then I started doing exceedingly off-off-Broadway things, only to learn and to get past my anxieties and shyness .” She met Visconti though her then-boyfriend Helmut Berger- he had also been in a relationship with Visconti- and he practically shed her on spate for Death in Venice.” The first day, I supposed I was dying of panic. But then I determine foot on that stage, and I just had this incredible feeling that this is where I’m supposed to be .”

She was doing Death in Venice when she got a call from agricultural producers who said Bob Fosse wanted to see her for a movie, which turned out to be Cabaret. On the prepare of that, she says she remembers trembling so badly that Fosse questioned her why her hat was shaking.” It was terrible. It was only my second movie .” Then Kubrick experienced Cabaret and decided he wanted her to play Lady Lyndon in his adaptation of the Thackeray novel Barry Lyndon. He announced her when she was in berthed with pneumonia and could hardly speak.” I was practically instinctive ,” she says.” I just let him speak because I was dumbfounded regardles. But he carried on for quite a while about every detail of what he’d liked about my performance in Cabaret .” She didn’t meet him until she was on the set.

Berenson moved into the wing of a draughty castling in Ireland, where they were shooting. Every day Kubrick would tell her she might be needed on prepared, but she never was( her backgrounds were filmed formerly the creation suddenly moved to England, reportedly following security threats from the IRA ).” It was the most depressing place ,” she says.” I had visions of starting ride in the Irish countryside and all that, but in the end, it rained all the time and I was so lonely. I make Stanley liked the idea that I became very melancholic there .” She would cook spaghetti bolognese for the crew, only to have visitors.

Berenson in a Vogue fashion shoot in Capri, 1968. Photograph: Arnaud de Rosnay/ Conde Nast via Getty Images

Kubrick was, she recollects,” absolutely kind and respected, and exceedingly delightful. He never grew his voice, he was always very gentle, but he required what he required, so if he wanted a scene shot 50 days then it would be killed 50 occasions. Yes, he was a perfectionist and he required you to give the best of yourself, and he expected parties is currently available .” She said he understood that, she contributes.” Every great person I’ve worked with, whether a director or photographer, they have this exceptional kind of rarity. You have to be necessitating, you have to be a perfectionist, you have to know what you want, and you have to have the best of what you can have because otherwise you don’t do extraordinary things .”

Her acting career had get off to an electrifying start, but Berenson walked away.” I got married shortly after that, so my profession sort of …” She interrupts, then says crisply,” I employed everything on hold for a period of time, which was a choice .” Her marriage to rivet financier Jim Randall didn’t last.” And then I went through a series of very challenging things in my life, so I had to kind of move through all of that and come out the other side. I had a marriage, a divorce, a vehicle gate-crash”- she was injured, but the two parties in the other car were killed- “and another marriage and another divorce.”

She started working again, in theater and European films, but nothing of her personas have had the same impact as her first three. Does she regret not pushing her job?” I can’t regret anything because I had a great, beautiful daughter ,” she says.” And now I have a granddaughter, so I’m stimulated. With Hollywood, I don’t know what would have happened if I had stayed. It’s true that Barry Lyndon was such an amazing thing for me, that had I continued on that road, maybe, I don’t know … But one prepares selects and I cleared that select at the time so I can’t regret it .”

There doesn’t seem much chamber in Berenson’s life for negativity. She takes her spiritual rehearsal very seriously, and it has examined her through the toughest seasons, she says, among them the deaths among her sister Berry, a talented photographer who was a passenger on one of the planes that pop the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Berenson was also in the air that day, flying to New York, when her plane was diverted to Newfoundland, where she was stuck for several days.” We were put into this big stadium place, and there were counters they had organised with fruit and a toothbrush and a piece of soap, and medical whatever, and then a whole route of telephones on another table .” She announced her daughter, who the hell is furiously been trying to track her down, and learned what had happened to Berry. She recollects accompanying a pastor, a fellow fare, to a tiny church on a hill where “theyre saying” devotions and sang songs.

It must be a particularly unpleasant loss because those likeness are so vivid, and are still used in reports and documentaries all the time. She nods.” To see that tower incessantly, it’s awful. It’s so huge and so beyond anything imaginable .”

She has been able to deal with it, she says, because of her spirituality.” I try and look at things on a different level of consciousness, and I connect with my sister all the time. So that helps a lot .” She adds, very sincerely:” I believe that so strongly that I never feel alone and I ever known better I’m been incorporated into higher powers .”

When she ogles back, does she certainly had not yet been sadness?” Sometimes I remember maybe I consumed too much time on things. But in the end, I talk myself out of it- nothing is a waste of time, because everything is a proliferating process .”

Berenson isn’t slacking. She spent much of last year in Paris doing a musical, realising her dream to sing and dance. Three years ago, she took on Shakespeare for the first time, performing in London’s West Intent in Kenneth Branagh’s production of Romeo and Juliet.” I don’t let age get in the way of “peoples lives”. I is ongoing to do the things I just wanted to do and thank God I’m able to do it .” Nobody likes going old, she says,” but it can also be glorious. I feel better about a lot of things now than I did when I was younger, and creatively I contemplate I’m much better. I’m more secure within myself .”

By now it’s late afternoon, and a far-off call to prayer comes shimmering through the warm breath. She likes this time of day- she’ll watch cinemas, or read books. Perhaps have a swim. A era for contemplation, and proposing. What does she want to achieve?” Heaps of things. I’m not finished yet .”


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